Fort Campbell officials asserted their commitment today to hold soldiers who commit sexual assault and harassment accountable for their actions. This comes in the wake of widespread media attention on several sexual misconduct claims filed by military personnel.
During a round table discussion with local media, Brigadier General Mark Stammer, senior commander of the 101st Airborne Division, admitted the military struggled to prevent such crimes.
“Sexual misconduct has been an issue that has affected our military for decades," said Stammer. "Sexual harassment and sexual assault are inconsistent with Army values and are not going to be tolerated here at Fort Campbell.”
Stammer says victims should report any incidents to their immediate supervisors. In fact panelists feel the increase in military sexual assault cases could be the result of soldiers feeling more comfortable reporting crimes and not an uptick in actual assaults. Stammer says all alleged assailants should be investigated.
“Those folks that commit these crimes act outside our values and are acting outside the law," Stammer said. "They’re criminals, and we should investigate properly, turn them over to the prosecutor when called for and if and when found guilty, punished accordingly.”
Stammer also says he believes the government should not prevent commanders from handling such cases. He believes commanders have the responsibility to hold their soldiers accountable for their actions and should be allowed to fulfill this duty in cases of sexual misconduct. Removing this responsibility, Stammer says, could do more harm than good.
Stammer and other officials outlined the military installation’s programs and policies to curb harassment and assault, including a program called Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention or SHARP. The program includes personnel trained to help victims receive proper care and advocacy.